Admissionado back once again with fresh, off-the-shelves essay analyses for Booth's 2017 application! We wanted to jump in and give you a head-start on those essays questions jog that imagination, and give you a few tips and tricks to get started on your Chicago Booth essays to get you started on the best foot this year. Soooooo, without further ado:
Chicago Booth MBA Essay 1
View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why.
Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.
Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.
File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.
Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.
Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.
The 2017 Chicago Booth essay question is the same as last year’s version, which had been a significant departure from previous years, where the famous Powerpoint prompt seemed to leave things even more open-ended. This year, they’re asking you to engage with a series of photos, and then explain your connection to one of them, specifically around the idea of resonance. That’s what the prompt says, anyway.
Resonance, yes. But… to what end? If a pic of their resonates with a 96-year old infirm gentleman moments before he passes, it may be a wonderful moment for the admissions committee, but it doesn’t exactly do them much good. Or if this were to resonate with a 13-year old because some aspect of one of their photos struck a deeply emotional chord. It might make for a tearjerking story, but… if that kid doesn’t end up becoming a businessman through the Booth program, improving from it, and improving others along the way, none of it matters. See what we’re driving at here? Don’t let the wording distract from the fact that you need (as with any MBA application essay) to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are destined for success. Period.
So, once again, the best response to this prompt comes down to one thing and one thing only: proof of future success.
First, let’s dig into the idea of proof itself. This is where visual media can be incredibly useful in helping you support your claims more effectively than through the written word. Imagine an artist (painter) telling you about his work. However good his descriptions may be, will it ever be as convincing as actually showing you the actual work itself? Or even better, imagine a chef describing what his best dish tastes like, in an essay. Wouldn’t the most effective delivery method be to taste the actual food? Or a musician, extolling the virtues of a song in a speech, rather than… playing the song. You get the idea.
For this particular essay, you should consider yourself an artist. Or a chef. Or a musician. You’re about to make some kind of claim about what makes you marked for success, and to then take it a step further to show exactly how your potential for success is heightened somehow by Booth specifically. But, remember, if they can’t see, or taste, or hear your argument, it won’t weigh much.
So let’s dig into the meat a little more. Three pieces to this thing:
Piece 1 = What you’re all about.
Piece 2 = Why Booth complements that unusually well.
Piece 3 = Why these things combine ultimately to spell success in your future.
Which part to attack first? Your instincts may tell you to start with Piece 1, but we’re gonna recommend otherwise. First, do your homework on Booth. Research. Read. Poll alums. Investigate. Follow the careers of professors. Read their work. Dig into clubs, Booth-specific offerings, course list, the latest happenings on and off the campus. At some point during this research, you’re gonna come across something that resonates with you. Something you find appealing. Something that makes you say to yourself “I want that for myself.” Your brain is unusually adept at filtering out the stuff that’s common to all programs, all the overlap. Trust those raw instincts when you sense something that’s somehow… “Booth.” Your brain will latch onto something that generates a gravitational pull toward Booth and Booth alone. “I wanna be around THAT.” “THAT looks fun.” “I wanna experience THAT.” “That thing is right up my alley.” “That thing captures me perfectly.” Make a note, and try to articulate (to yourself, or in a note) what it is about the article or picture or finding that appeals to you. See if you can find a few of these. This is a great starting point.
Now, get your Freud on. Take a look at the stuff you found appealing about Booth, and see what it says about who YOU are. What are you made up of such that those aspects were appealing? See how that works? It’s reverse engineering at its best. Let’s say, for example, that there’s some kind of team building culture at Booth that inspires you. Great, now turn inward and recognize that you THRIVE in team-based environments. Now, here comes the tricky part: It’s not enough for you to recognize that trait and then just… claim to have it. You have to now find the EVIDENCE in your background and “prove it.” Maybe it’s through photographs. Maybe it’s through creative flowcharts. And maybe it IS through a compelling written story. Whatever the medium, your goal is to demonstrate a clear understanding of certain appealing aspects of Booth, at the same time as you sell your connection to those aspects.
But now comes the icing on the cake. If you only demonstrate an understanding of Booth, and manage to show a connection to YOU, but don’t quite paint a picture of how those two things spell success in your future… you haven’t quite cinched it. In order to scorch this “essay,” you need to crush all three. So that’s your challenge throughout the process. Am I delivering clear, compelling proof about what makes me tick? Am I connecting that to something specific about Booth? And finally, have I suggested that when those two things combine, it serves almost like a product guarantee that I (product) am gonna succeed?
(Use the photos as a jumping off point. Go after essences and don’t take the pictures too seriously or literally.)
Chicago Booth MBA Essay 2
Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 word maximum)
Read our team’s complete take on the idea of optional essay, including a brief (recent) history of b-schools’ relationship with it, and how our recommendations have evolved over the years, right here.
And that's that. Helpful, eh? If you have any questions on it or Booth or anything, just reply here or shoot us a PM. And if you want more Essay Analysis Goodness, check out more schools here. We're updating 'em daily as new prompts are released, so keep checking back.
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The University of Chicago Booth School of Business is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. While Chicago has asked a version of a creative, open-ended essay for many years, this one focuses more on personal experiences with your classmates than in the past.
Senior Director of Admissions Donna Swinford says in the Booth Admissions Blog: “Please trust when I say that there is no hidden meaning in the prompt. Rather than spend time worrying about what you think we want to hear, focus instead on telling us why the Booth moment truly resonates with you.”
While Chicago highly values academics, there are many places in your MBA application to feature your academic accomplishments. Academic ability will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in the essays and the interview.
Along with academics, Chicago will be looking for demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates.
If your career goals and work experience does not fit with the essay portion of the application, make sure your resume is shows progression, clearly communicates your experience and highlights core accomplishments.
View this collection of shared Booth moments. Choose the moment that best resonates with you and tell us why.
• Choose the format that works for you. Want to illustrate your response visually? Submit a slide presentation. Like to express yourself with words? Write a traditional essay. Use the format that you feel best captures your response, the Admissions Committee has no preference.
• Determine your own length. There is no prescribed minimum or maximum length. We trust that you will use your best judgment in determining how long your submission should be, but we recommend that you think strategically about how to best allocate the space.
• File Size: Maximum file size is 16 MB.
• Accepted Upload Formats: Acceptable formats are PDF, Word, and PowerPoint. We strongly recommend converting your piece to a PDF file prior to submitting.
• Multimedia Restrictions: We will be viewing your submission electronically and in full color, but all submissions will be converted to PDF files, so animation, video, music, etc. will not translate over.
This Chicago Booth essay question provides a set of photos and text describing and depicting a range of student activities at Booth – from a student taking notes in class to a group scuba diving in Central America– and asks you to choose one that resonates with you.
Your first step is to do as much school research as possible on Chicago. Visit campus. Attend events. Speak to alumni. Read the admissions blog. Whatever you are capable of doing to experience the community for yourself before starting your application will be invaluable as you set pen to paper.
Chicago Booth’s open-ended essay format is daunting for most applicants. Whether you choose to write an essay or prepare a presentation, take a step back from the unique format and think about the question strategically. The format’s open-ended setup simply gives you the freedom to express who you are in words, images, graphics or some combination.
Keep in mind what Chicago Booth represents in the image you choose. Booth is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, non-conformity, and innovation. When discussing the image that resonates with you about Chicago Booth you can share almost anything from any context, from work to home to extracurricular activities.
It’s also important to explain why your chosen image resonates with you and to bring in important elements of your application strategy. Maybe the image of students celebrating diversity resonates with you because it is one of your core values that you will share with your Booth classmates as a club president. Or the image of a student walking by the modern art collection resonates with a core hobby that you want to share with your classmates.
If you decide to write an essay response, you have enough space to tell a story that describes something new about yourself. If you decide to prepare a PowerPoint in response to this essay question, refine your story to its key elements.
To keep a visual essay interesting and high-impact, consider how you will format. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.
Is there any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know? If so, please address in an optional essay. (300 words maximum)
This optional essay is a flexible question, allowing you to provide the information you need to put forward the best possible application. If you have any areas that need to be explained in your profile, such as academic issues or gaps in work experience, this is the ideal place to add more detail.
Because the essay is open-ended you can also use it to add any additional information you wanted to inform the admissions committee about. Anything from an interesting personal background to meaningful extracurricular could be relevant context to add to a successful application.
Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn more about how we can help you approach your Booth application.
This entry was posted in Application Tips, Chicago Booth Advice and tagged application tips, applications, Booth MBA, Chicago Booth MBA, Chicago Booth School of Business, Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, MBA application, MBA Essays.
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